Jazz Camp West’s non-institutional environment and the lack of age limitations are what make the camp unique. I would add that the lack of emphasis on jazz vs. funk vs. mambo vs. samba vs. hip-hop is a contributing factor. But probably the single most important factor in fostering a sense of community among the campers and faculty is the lack of cell phone service and difficulty in accessing the internet.
In my thinking, the exclusion of audience participation means that measures have been taken to keep it from happening, but its disinclusion merely means that it was never taken up for consideration. Audience participation at orchestra concerts is not considered as essential to the music’s performance. And now that jazz-studies programs are nearly ubiquitous in American academic institutions, we should be concerned that institutional-based jazz-studies programs have the potential for disincluding the relatively experienced performer from their learning environment.
The most valuable performance tradition in American music—more important than subscription orchestra concerts, new music series, musical theater, rock concerts, and the opera—is the jam session, where musicians of any age, stature, and stylistic bent will agree to improvise at least one song together with the intent of making the best music possible.
The daily routine of Encuentro de International de Musicos makes it somewhat difficult to sightsee or go shopping for souvenirs. Every day, our group of ten musicians is scheduled to rehearse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with workshops being conducted from 3-6 p.m. and, since Wednesday, concerts from 8-10 p.m.
I knew little about Wadada Leo Smith, other than that I wanted to know more about him. I was blown away by his clear and direct explanation of his musical philosophy and his method for composing long forms that allow for the greatest creative involvement by the performer vis-à-vis the performer’s simultaneous interpretation of Smith’s “musical language,” Ankhrasmation.